By Published on November 22, 2019

Photographer Jeffrey Lee Joseph Beaulieu Interview

Model Bunny Marlow

JL Joseph Beaulieu: Obscurist; the slow drip of sweat from a brow of lust drenched in the fear of a near death experience, a term I have coined to represent myself and my greater works. I have made great strides to create photographic works that transcend the medium, that cause disturbance in their intimacy and relatable nature. Photographs that delve into human psychology, sexuality, fetishism and horror. My work is intended to make you think of the last gasp, and glory in it.

Model Dessa

FETFAN: How did you get started with Photography and how long have you been a photographer for?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: I started shooting local bands at Hardcore/Punk shows around 1998/1999 and continued with that until the relative death of film photography in 2011, I then enrolled in the Antonelli Institute of Photography in Philadelphia to get a degree.

FETFAN: What type of camera do you shoot with?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: Currently in my camera bag I carry a Canon Rebel T3I with a Sigma 50mm 1:1 lens. As well as a Fuji Instax Wide.

FETFAN: If you had to choose one lens to work with which one would it be and why?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: Honestly I need to get a 30mm with a 1.8, I love wide lenses with a shallow depth of field. For me I enjoy the intimacy of a portrait shot up close.

Model Calliope Storm

FETFAN: What lighting equipment do you take on a shoot?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: A reflector. I typically use my available light and manipulate what is around me. I rarely shoot with strobes or a speed light.

FETFAN: Your photography stands out from many artists, how did you decide or discover this side of yourself as an artist?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: I started to use my photography as a self reflection, showing intimate traits of my interests and revealing inner truths. It eventually evolved into watching society and culture de-evolve so to speak into what I would consider back to puritan behaviors. Although everyone claims to be more open these days there’s an awful lot of aggression aimed at nudity, the female/male forms and sexuality in artwork.

Model Dolores

FETFAN: How much post production do you do on your images?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: Honestly not a lot, I tend to put a lot of effort into the initial production of the imagery so that it lends itself to what I was seeking without digital manipulation or variation.

FETFAN: What software do you use for editing your images?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.

FETFAN: What inspires you to create such great imagery?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: Movies, Music Videos, Painters.. but most of all my dreams. I draw a lot from my inner thoughts and am very self reflective. I realize my flaws and I accentuate them in my art. Likewise I see the things that most people don’t. I see pain and beauty and horror all in the same face and seek to capture it.

Models Kasie and Le CammieO[//i]

FETFAN: What is your favorite image you have recently created and can you give us an insight on its creation?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: There is an image I’ve been giving on for a bit now thats of a woman named Cherry Heroine (her moniker of course). She’s of asian descent, with an unpronounced chest and very beautiful yet un-telling facial features. So I painted her along with my assistant/significant other, Abigail Robertson, to look like an aboriginal/indigenous tribe member. I was careful to not give origin or context to the paint on her, and to cover her bare breasts with her hair so they disappeared and shot one of the very first head on portraits of her. The final images idea is that it’s a person, of unknown origin, of unknown gender shot in black and white with all these textures making the photo almost timeless in a way. I was seeking an image that had a relation to every viewer yet no clear hold. It has been mistaken for a painting on more than one occasion.

FETFAN: Throughout your career I'm sure you have been to many different places, which has left an impression and what kind of project were you working on?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: Honestly, Austin left the biggest impact, and to be clear it was negative. It truly spiraled me out and away from myself. My fiancee stepped in and was significant in re-grounding me, refocusing me on my work. She and I took up the mantle of the Pornaroids project I have been ongoing with ever since. It was birthed from not having a working DSLR or Film camera of my own except my old Polaroid 600 and my Fuji Instax Wide. I didn’t want to not shoot, so instead I turned to my analog roots and created some amazing images using only the polaroids.

Model Trillium

FETFAN: What talent would you like most to have?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: I really wish I could read minds. Hahaha, but no for real I’d love to be better at wood working and sculpture, I have a lot of ideas branching away from merely just my photographic works and I’d love to construct my own frames for gallery exhibitions and to create some amazing scenes using self made structural elements.

FETFAN: What is something you're still learning?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: The adult answer to this is patience, but in the artistic realm I am currently focusing on some antiquated analog methods of printing. I am trying to delve into earlier forms of photo capture and printing so that I can be more hands on with my finished works.

FETFAN: What is something you consider to be overrated?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: Other than pop culture as a whole - I’d have to say that happiness is not only overrated, but a transitive and fluid concept. Happiness does not typically breed creative or even amazing art. Happiness is also a relative concept. At the same time, just because my work is dark and morbid does not make me an unhappy person.

Models Molly and Amanda

FETFAN: Is there anyone who has inspired your work?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: A few people, the earliest and most notable of which were Joel Peter-Witkin and Robert Mapplethorpe, I was obsessed with their works from the age of 12/13 on. I was once even given a book of Mapplethorpes nudes by my art teacher in 8th grade on a class field trip and instructed not to tell anyone.

As of years since the amazing video works of Floria Sigis-Mondi, photographic and paint works of Gottfried Helnwein, and probably the music, visual media of Marilyn Manson has always been integral in my thought processes.

FETFAN: When at a photoshoot, what do you love most about the experience and what do you find challenging as an artist?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: That moment when your vision takes on a new life and is captured in the frame is the most exciting part of my experience. Most challenging aspect is getting to that point, between finding the right model/person to collaborate with, getting your lighting just the way you want it, and I spend a lot of time on composition and framing making great pains to focus on my final image. I don’t want to go back and tell myself, “this would have been better if…” I stay in the moment until that moment is right.

Model Kristen Nicole

FETFAN: Have you ever attended any seminars or workshops?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: I have not; however, I attended a specialized college for art and photography and earned my Associate degree.

FETFAN: How would you best describe yourself using just 3 words?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: Forever Seeking More

FETFAN: As an artist I'm sure there are many art forms you enjoy photographing. Can you share which ones you enjoy the most.

JL Joseph Beaulieu: I personally enjoy creating my own Obscurist portraits. I cater each bizarre portrait session into the individual working with me, compiling a list of their fears, fetishes, fantasies and interests and making custom sessions for them to take away images that resonate and never get old to them.

Model Cherry Heroine

FETFAN: Have you ever found an interest in Fetish Photography, and if so please share your favorite experience.

JL Joseph Beaulieu: I’d say the one interest I found during fetish photography was my love of capturing the moment. There are so many moments we replay from our intimate encounters with our lovers and they can be so fleeting. It’s an incredible notion to be able to freeze it and lock it in for all time.

FETFAN: What photographic ambition have you not achieved yet?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: I have a few but first is to have my first solo gallery show, It’s scheduled now for June 3rd at the Cindy Frey Gallery in Belgium though this year so that’s coming off the bucket list.

FETFAN: What advice would you give to someone who is considering a photography career?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: Don’t, the market is over-saturated and you’re not likely to find it budding into a lucrative career of any kind. I greatly encourage them to follow interests and passions in the arts and in photography but don’t concern yourself with making a career of it unless you’re willing to sacrifice the majority of your life, free time and wallet.

Model Levanne Doll

FETFAN: To your fans and followers any last words?

JL Joseph Beaulieu: I greatly anticipate seeing what 2016 will bring in terms of my personal growth and work. I have taken this year to focus strongly on solidifying my place in the world of art, filth and fetishism. And if you have any personal questions I am always available to ask at jljosephbeaulieu@gmail.com.

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